What is Gestalt anyway?” I get asked this a lot since I am a Gestalt trained coach . Gestalt is a theoretical model for understanding how people develop and grow. It is a theory that supports the notion that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, that we function best when we are whole and when we are aware of the different parts of ourselves and they are fully integrated.
The Cycle of Experience is a cornerstone of Gestalt Theory and can be applied to every life experience that holds some degree of meaning for us. It is a useful tool to understand the process we go through as we develop, expand and grow. Here is a simplistic example of the Cycle of Experience with the main components using the experience of hunger being satisfied :
Sensation: Our stomach growls, we have a physical sensation of hunger:
Awareness: We acknowledge to ourselves we are hungry:
Mobilization: We go find something to eat:
Action: We eat:
Withdrawal/Integration: We feel content because we are full and we know we can do this again when next we feel hungry
So If we apply this notion to the experience of, say, trying to conceive it looks like this:
Sensation: We see a baby and have a warm, gushy feeling of desire
Awareness: We turn to our partner and say” I think its time to begin our family”
Mobilization: We know when our last period was and decide on the “best time of the month” for us and act on it
Action: We do what it takes to make a baby !
Integration: We soon know that we are either pregnant or not.
But in the case of infertility this is where the cycle gets disrupted, instead of it not coming, our period comes, again and again. We never are able to move to meaningful integration, we are always stuck in trying to mobilize and take action and create a new identity – that of being pregnant, month after month .
When the cycle gets disrupted month after month, we integrate something else – an expectation that our body is going to fail us yet again. We are afraid to hope , by way of protecting ourselves, which then becomes a way of being. So, what do we do , what is our usual MO when we are stuck in not being able to make contact? Do we withdraw, stop connecting with friends and family? Do we become angry outwardly and become critical and argumentative? Do we go to start playing some old tape in side us that tells us we never deserved a child anyways? Or is there another behavior that we slip into without awareness or choice?
My work with clients is about raising their awareness around what they do when their cycle is disrupted, whether we are talking about fertility, or trying to write a book. Is it an internal ( something they are doing) or external ( something happening to them) disruption? With awareness comes the opportunity to make different choices around how we choose to act and react in certain situations. When we come from a place of choice, we feel empowered, and when armed with empowerment to respond how we want to some insensitive comment, , it is easier to handle the sadness and grief of infertility, or other life challenge where we feel a lack of control.
We go through many cycles each and every day, some of them are completed, and some not. What cycles do you find are disrupted over and over again ? What cycles are completed? Where is your growing edge…….today?